This is part two of the two part transcript of my radio interview with Mary Ellen O'Toole
(image by Mary Ellen O'Toole)
R.K.: My guest tonight is Mary Ellen O'Toole, PhD.
She spent her career studying the criminal mind. She was one of the most senior profilers of the FBI until her retirement in 2009. She has helped capture, interview, and understand some of the world's most infamous people and she is recognized as the FBI's leading expert in the area of psychopathy. Psychopaths. Welcome to the show.
R.K.: Okay, so I wanted to take this in another direction now. We've got a million psychopaths. One percent of the population. That's over three million psychopaths in American then, right?
M.O.: I'd have to do that math, but I think that's correct.
R.K.: There's about three hundred and fifteen million Americans, it's about three million. Now, if only fifteen percent of people in jail are psychopaths and there are about two or three million people in jail that means that most of the psychopaths are not in jail. They're out there.
M.O.: Mmh huh.
R.K.: Where I've been really going with this, once I get started thinking about this is what do we do? What does law enforcement do? What do corporations do? Because, I'm very interested in corporate psychopaths. That was actually the title of the article, wasn't White Collar, it might have been White Collar at one point, but the title of the article on the FBI website is 'The Corporate Psychopath."
R.K.: So, my question is what about the ones who are not in jail, who are not murderers who are smarter and more strategic. What is done to deal with them and to protect the public from the ones who get away with it? The ones who are so good that they're running corporations, or maybe even in politics. Maybe even behind a badge.
M.O.: Well, let me ask you this question for clarification. Are we talking about someone who is psychopathic but doesn't break the law and runs a company or are we talking about someone who manifests the traits of psychopathy and breaks the law?
R.K.: Well, I've done a number of interviews, one I did was somebody who teaches therapists how to help people who have been victims of psychopaths. My impression is that a lot of psychopaths exploit people as they're predators, they exploit people by going into relationships with them and they get away with an awful lot that is illegal, but they don't get to go to jail. And then there are people and, let's face it, if you have a lot of money, your consequences are minimal of your risk of going to jail.
I just read an article today about one of the Mars family from the candy company, she's a billionaire. She got into an accident, fell asleep, hit somebody, she's going to get away with a $2,500 fine and six months probation. I guess my point is there are an awful lot of people out there who are not in jail, yet they're predators and I think that a lot should be done to deal with them preventatively.
Now, when I've written about it, people have brought up the "Majority Report" that movie Tom Cruise was in where people were predicted to be criminals before they did anything, and I don't want that, but I'm just wondering what the FBI does to deal with people who have not yet committed crimes, if there's anything that's done, if there is a government plan, or any kind of a psychological approach to dealing them.
M.O.: Well, what law enforcement does is if someone doesn't break the law, then law enforcement has no jurisdiction, or no basis to get involved with their life, or to dictate what should or shouldn't happen. So, that's number one. Number two, I think people have to understand, someone can have the traits of psychopathy, but never break the law.
And I know that that's a very difficult concept to get, but that's the reality. So, if someone is not out there breaking the law, law enforcement can't just walk into their home and say you know we think you're acting like a jerk, and they may use other words, so we're going to get involved in your life.